Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Supreme Court to Rod Blagojevich: Stay In the Slammer

April 18, 2018

Supreme Court to Rod Blagojevich: Stay In the Slammer

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the incarcerated Chicago Democrat who tried to sell Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat after the 2004 election. “Blago,” a devoted Elvis fan, is probably all shook up. He’s serving a 14-year sentence, and won’t be sprung until May 2024.

More:

“U.S. Supreme Court again rejects hearing Rod Blagojevich’s appeal,” Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune

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Client Number Three

April 18, 2018

Client Number Three

After the FBI seized documents from his office, home, and hotel room, Trump fixer Michael Cohen is on trial in New York for as-yet unspecified federal crimes, most likely bank fraud and campaign law violations relating to his hush money payoffs to women on behalf of his adulterous clients Donald Trump and Elliott Broidy. Mr. Cohen isn’t much of a lawyer, but he’s had one more client, whose identity he tried to withholdJudge Kimba Wood wasn’t having it, and “client number three” turned out to be Sean Hannity, the vociferous defender of Donald Trump and Michael Cohen on Fox News. Hilarity ensued.

More:

“Yes, Sean Hannity was a legal client of Michael Cohen’s,” Philip Bump, Washington Post

“No Disclosure? No Problem. Sean Hannity Gets a Pass at Fox News.” Michael M. Grynbaum and John Koblin, New York Times

“Sean Hannity’s idea of ‘attorney-client privilege’ was right out of ‘Breaking Bad,’”  Kyle Swenson, Washington Post

“Sean Hannity’s Ties to Two More Trump-Connected Lawyers,” Rosie Gray, The Atlantic

“Michael Cohen and the Busting of the Trump Crime Family,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“Trump Should Be Worried by Cohen Probe. Really Worried.” Noah Feldman,  Bloomberg View

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Michael Cohen Goes to Court Today

April 16, 2018

Michael Cohen, personal lawyer of Donald Trump, will be in U.S. District Court in New York this afternoon, trying to exclude thousands of documents seized by the FBI from the federal case against him. Mr. Cohen has been charged by Deputy U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami, not (as in the SNL skit above) Robert Mueller. Since Mr. Cohen has only one client, Donald Trump, the case against Michael Cohen is more of a present threat to Mr. Trump than the Mueller investigation. And since Michael Cohen serves Donald Trump in the capacity of bagman and fixer, not as a lawyer, attorney-client privilege does not apply. In any case, a lawyer abetting a client in criminal acts cannot hide behind privilege.

More:

“Trump advisers see Cohen probe as greater threat to Trump than Mueller: report,” Max Greenwood, The Hill

“What Exactly Was Michael Cohen Doing for Donald Trump?” David A. Graham, The Atlantic

“Trump Wants to Review Seized Michael Cohen Materials Before Federal Prosecutors,” Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

“Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency,” Adam Davidson, The New Yorker

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Guilty: Kellyanne Conway Violated the Hatch Act

March 16, 2018

Guilty: Kellyanne Conway Violated the Hatch Act

The federal U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently ruled that Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act twice, both times while appearing on television in her official capacity.

“In the first interview, Conway advocated against one Senate candidate and gave an implied endorsement of another candidate. In the second interview, she advocated for the defeat of one Senate candidate and the election of another candidate. Both instances constituted prohibited political activity under the Hatch Act and occurred after Conway received significant training on Hatch Act prohibitions ….” — OSC

That “significant training” was mandated after an earlier televised ethical breach, when Ms. Conway shilled for Ivanka Trump products during an interview on Fox News.

Special Counsel Henry Kerner sent his office’s findings to President Donald Trump “for appropriate disciplinary action.” As a presidential appointee, it is up to the president to decide on Ms. Conway’s punishment, so naturally she received a firm executive shrug. A career federal employee would be terminated for this. “The White House cannot continue to have one standard for the federal workforce generally and a lower standard for appointees who are close to this President,” observed Walter Shaub, former Director of the Office of Government Ethics.

More:

“Kellyanne Conway found to have violated Hatch Act,” John Bowden, The Hill

“Kellyanne Conway broke the law. The White House shrugs.” Washington Post editorial

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Soccer Trial In Brooklyn: Guilty

December 23, 2017

Soccer Trial In Brooklyn: Guilty

Two former officials of the South American soccer association were found guilty in U.S. Federal Court on Friday of accepting millions of dollars in bribes. The jury will deliberate on a third defendant next week. 24 other people tied to FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, have pleaded guilty, and 15 more charged in the racketeering  and money-laundering probe are fighting extradition to the U.S.

More:

“2 Top Soccer Officials Found Guilty in FIFA Case,” Rebecca R. Ruiz, New York Times

“Fifa trial: two ex-soccer officials found guilty on multiple charges of corruption,” Oliver Laughland, The Guardian

Update:

“Fifa trial: ex-president of Peru soccer acquitted of corruption charge,” AP via The Guardian

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Body-Slamming Congressman Made False Statements to Police

November 29, 2017

Body-Slamming Congressman Made False Statements to Police

Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte of Montana, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for slamming a reporter to the ground and punching him during his election campaign, made false statements to police during the investigation of the attack, newly-released documents show. The reporter, Ben Jacobs of the Guardian, questioned the candidate about the CBO analysis of a House healthcare bill, and got screaming and assault as an answer and, although the attack was witnessed by an astonished Fox News crew, Mr. Gianforte blamed the reporter, an account he gave to police but later contradicted in court.

The day after the attack, Greg Gianforte was elected to the House. After all, Montana voters had already elected a dangerously impulsive rich guy who hates the media and press freedom to the White House, so adding another one to Congress was a reflex.

More:

“Rep. Gianforte’s account to police on assault of reporter appears to contradict his later apology,” Ellie Silverman, Washington Post

“Greg Gianforte misled police after assault of Guardian journalist, incident report shows,” Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian

“Montana Congressman Who Assaulted Reporter Lied to Police About It,” Benjamin Hart, New York Magazine

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Carlos Danger’s In the Dungeon

November 7, 2017

Carlos Danger's In the Dungeon

Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger) finally entered prison on Monday after pleading guilty to sending sexty photos to a 15-year-old girl.. Since quitting Congress and losing a local election in New York City, Mr. Weiner was fired by Time-Warner cable news outlet NY1 and the New York Daily News, and divorced by Huma Abedin. Mr. Danger Weiner will spend 21 months in a federal lockup near Boston, where other celebs include inside-trader Raj Rajaratnam, and Bernie Madoff’s kid brother Peter. 40 percent of the slammer’s residents are sex offenders.

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Trump Pardons Disgraced Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio

August 28, 2017

Trump Pardons Disgraced Racist Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, recently convicted on federal contempt charges for violating a court order forbidding his racial profiling tactics, has been pardoned by President Trump.

In 2016 the 83-year-old Sheriff, an early and ardent Trump supporter, failed to win re-election after 23 years in office, despite having armed deputies assigned to polling places in an effort to intimidate Mexican-American voters. While elderly Arpaio failed at the polls, his voter suppression effort helped deliver more votes for Donald Trump in Maricopa County than any other county in America. One more reason for Mr. Trump’s bromance with the law-breaking ex-lawman.

President Trump was so eager to get “Sheriff Joe” off the hook, he asked Jeff Sessions to drop the case before Arpaio was convicted.

More:

“Trump pardons Joe Arpaio, former sheriff convicted in racial profiling case,” Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian

“Trump pardons `Sheriff Joe’ for defying court orders to halt racial profiling,” Todd J. Gilman, Dallas News

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Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting: 8th Man Identified

July 18, 2017

The 8th participant in Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer bearing campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton has been identified. He is Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a naturalized U.S. citizen and the California-based representative of Aras Agalarov, the “Russian Donald Trump.” Mr. Kavaladze is a vice president at the Agalarov family‘s Crocus Group real estate company. Earlier in his U.S. business career, Mr. Kavaladze was implicated in a $1.4 billion money-laundering operation.

According to his personal website:

“Ike Kaveladze’s responsibilities pertaining to Crocus’ international development projects include securing and structuring project investments, and negotiating with Chinese and other international contractors. One such project is the construction of the largest institution of higher education in Russia, Far Eastern Federal University in the Primorsky Krai (maritime province) capitol city of Vladivostok. Ike Kaveladze has engaged architects, engineers, designers, and decorators from the United States and elsewhere to work on the construction of the 8.4-million-square-meter campus and other Crocus endeavors across Russia.

Ike Kaveladze earned his undergraduate degree in economics and graduate degree in accounting at the Moscow Academy of Finance, prior to receiving his Master of Business Administration at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Active with governments, businesses, and professionals on three continents, he is a member of the US-Russia Business Council and the Georgian Association in the United States of America, Inc.”

So the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting was attended by Donald Trump Jr., his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort (then Trump campaign manager), Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, translator Anatoli Samochornov, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, music publicist Rob Goldstone, and Crocus Group representative Ike Kaveladze.

Video: Okay, Mr. Kavaladze was technically not the “8th man” at the meeting, he was the “8th person” (one attendee was a woman), but we couldn’t find any music for that.

More:

“Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified,” Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

“Mueller Probing Eighth Man from Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting,” Daily Beast

Update:

“Russian man at Trump Jr meeting had partner with Soviet intelligence ties,” Jon Swaine, The Guardian 

Related:

“Was President at Trump Tower When Son Met Russian Lawyer?” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

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Donald Trump Jr.’s Cartoonish Campaign Conspiracy

July 13, 2017

Donald Trump Jr.'s Cartoonish Campaign Conspiracy
So this Ivy-League-educated New York millionaire frat boy gets an email from a British music promoter and professional fat guy he met at a Moscow beauty pageant, who tells him a Russian government attorney he knows through a Russian pop singer client has dirt on the political opponent of the millionaire’s daddy that she got from the Russian chief federal prosecutor. “I love it,” responds the millionaire New Yorker, and forwards the email to his brother-in-law and his poppa’s campaign manager, and they all meet with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, in violation of federal campaign law, and they don’t tell anyone until after they win the election. The Big Apple frat boy then incriminates himself via twitter and hires a trombone-playing mob lawyer to defend him.

Natasha Fatale: “What do you think?”
Boris Badenov: “I think he is as dumb as a sack of hammers.”

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Image (“Boris Badanov gets Donald Trump Jr.’s email” after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson), by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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